MORE THAN 4,000KM APART

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A simple WhatsApp conversation I had with a friend yesterday probably triggered this post. That, in addition to the backlog of travel posts of my recent trip to Perth and New Zealand in July.

The last time I counted – I saw Andrew 3 months in total last year, that’s about once every four months. That is almost unimaginable to many. As I was dishing long-distance relationship advice to my friend whose boyfriend is similarly living in Australia, it made me reflect on mine. I told her it’s not going to be easy, and it isn’t. No sugar-coating… it is tough.

The times you get lonely, or perhaps the nights where you have nothing to do, and all you want is to catch a late-night movie with your other half, but no, you got to deal with being alone. Of course, having a good circle of friends to depend on is good for you too. ¬†If there’s five things I learnt from all of this, they are:

  1. If he’s worth it, you will wait.
    Even if that means missing out on that hug, or not being able to celebrate your birthday with your boyfriend – always remember, good things come to those who wait.
  2. Honesty and trust are key.
    This is easier said than done. But do onto others, what you want others to do onto you.
  3. It’ll make you a stronger person.
    One of the things I dislike is saying goodbye at the airport, it involves tears and an aching heart. On the other hand, reuniting at the airport makes things even sweeter.
  4. You’ll treasure your other half much more.
    That’s not to say we won’t take our other half for granted, but you know that when you have 5 days together, you’ll think twice about picking a fight, and instead fill it with as many activities as you can – brunches, movies, car drives along the coast.
  5. Fill your spare time with the things you really want to do in life. Make yourself happy.
    Instead of sitting around grumbling about why he’s not with you, pick up a new hobby – go to that yoga or dance lesson you’ve always wanted to try. Or perhaps a solo day at the museum. You’ll be surprised at how independent you actually are.

distanceisnotforthefearful

Ok, it’s not as depressing as it is. We are actually really happy. I know so many people who are in long distance relationships – and I even did a feature piece at work on that! It’ll work out eventually.

In other (not so depressing) news, here’s some of the cafes I visited while in Perth. Most of my pictures from Perth (where Andrew is from) is almost always of food. We love to eat, and I always gain a few kilos when I head to Australia. Hey, we’re just catching up on lost time ūüėČ

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Andrew and I are huge brunch fans. The best part about visiting is having someone bring you around, and you don’t have to go crazy thinking about where to eat.¬†Sayers¬†is a really popular place, it was packed even on a weekday. It’s also voted 3rd best coffee shop on Urbanspoon, something similar to our HungryGoWhere.

We tend to share our dishes, simply because the portions are too much for me to finish. We always end up choosing a savoury and sweet – just to get a good mix. We started with the¬†Blue Manor Crab & Sweetcorn Croquettes, Poached Eggs, Spinach & Hollandaise. It was a refreshing find other than your typical poached eggs with salmon/ham which you find everywhere. The flavours were strong, a little too strong for my liking, but it was undeniably good. We also¬†had Chocolate and Banana Bread with Maple Butter. The bread was a little too sweet, but I love how the sides are crusty, and oooh the maple butter! Not the best for your diet plans, but go ahead and indulge, it’s so good!

Sayers
224 Carr Place,
Leederville, Perth WA
http://www.sayersfood.com.au/

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Ribbet collage

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That night, we tried Jamie’s Italian which is situated right in the heart of town. It was fairly new, so the hype was evidently there – we waited close to 1.5 hours for a table. I would recommend going for lunch instead, which was what Andrew and I did when we returned from New Zealand. We only had to wait for 10 minutes or so.

Thankfully, the staff are really friendly and went around giving samples while we waited. It kept many of us satisfied, now that’s what I called good service, and thus we were willing to wait.

I love how you can opt for a smaller portion at Jamie’s. I haven’t been to the one in Singapore but I would assume the practice is the same. It’s great for smaller eaters, and you get to order a variety when in a group without feeling stuffed.

We had a range of items – the Mozzarella Balls were highly recommended by Andrew’s parents. We had the Truffle Fries too, I couldn’t keep my hands off them but would have preferred more truffle oil. I had the Mushroom Risotto¬†which was decent. Other dishes we ordered include the Squid Ink Pasta, Veal Steak,¬†and¬†this particular Affogato¬†dessert, that was lovely.

Jamie’s Italian
140 William St
WA 6000
http://www.jamieoliver.com/italian/australia/perth

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This was recommended by ¬†Andrew’s mother – everyone’s a foodie in their household (not complaining).

I love the detail that they put into the dish – I can’t remember the exact name of the dish, but I had the Moroccan Ragout with Eggs and Cheese (sinful! but so good), paired with the crusty bread. It was so yummy, I was inspired to learn how to make this dish, which I have. It’s a good cafe to head to when you’re in need of some quiet time, while you savour a hot Mocha and a good book. There are also many people popping in and out of the store, but mostly for takeaways, so you don’t have to worry about finding a seat.

Cimbalino
16 Napoleon Street
Cottesloe
http://www.cimbalino.com.au/

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Thereafter, we went for a drive along the coast, parked our car while we took some scenic pictures. And guess what? The car battery died. It was the worst situation to be in. We had an afternoon ahead of us but we had to wait for close to an hour for the serviceman to arrive. When everything was solved, we drove to get some  cupcakes from Kustom Cupcakes. 

There’s a story behind this – it was Andrew’s birthday or perhaps our anniversary – and I ordered a box to be sent to his office (only because the delivery charge was cheaper, if not I would have sent it straight to his house!). They accommodated my request to include a message, and was really impressed by their service. The response to the cupcakes was so good that his colleagues finished the entire box. He promised to get me some when I visited. Promise fulfilled!

Kustom Cupcakes
Shop 4/156 Orrong Road, Lathlain
http://www.kustomcupcakes.com.au/


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Ribbet collage1

On the second last day before I left for home, we tried this cafe at Mount Lawley – Fez Cafe. We had the Hot Pancakes with Vanilla Mascarpone, Strawberry Compote and Maple Syrup¬†– not many places can do good pancakes. But these were just right – they were still hot when served, and tasted great whem the mascarpone melts over it. We shared the Merguez in a Roma Tomato, Kalamata Olives, with Baked Free Range Eggs and Labna served with Olive Ciabatta.¬†A great comforting dish to have when it’s raining outdoors (like right now).

Fez Cafe
83 Walcott Street,
Mt Lawley WA 6050
http://www.fezcafe.net.au/

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ASK ME?

I’m probably really late to the party, but I’ve finally set up an ask.fm account. I’m not sure how it works, but ask away!

Also, I’m on Instagram at deborahahah_! Okay minus the exclamation mark.

MY SEPTEMBER BUYS

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not the most particular person when it comes to my makeup. In fact, I swore by nothing except a good sunblock daily up till I started work about 1.5 years ago. So what prompted the change? That’s because I noticed my skin looked dull, my complexion was still good, but it just looked dull, sigh. I blame it on the process of ageing.

It’s not that bad, really. And so I’ve since started to use some makeup, but always buying the basic ones – as long as they were affordable, that’s all I really care about. By the way, I get my stash from Watsons, some others from Sephora, it’s a mix really.

Even then, I was still not satisfied. My makeup would never last, and by the end of the working day, my face looked dull again. I hate touching up if I have to stay out after work, and live with what I feel is a thick, heavy layer of makeup (but in fact it is nowhere near that). I was still on the lookout for something to brighten my look.

And then, I found it…

Take today for example, I completed a full day of work, and with rehearsals after that, my day ended at 11pm. 12am in fact, by the time I headed home, but my makeup still stayed on well!

I’m pretty open when it comes to using makeup – and tend to rely on recommendations from people like Michelle Phan and Jenn Im. I’m amazed by Michelle’s ability to make something bland come to life. Jenn is a cutie, plus her fashion sense is out of this world. I also rely on blogs for makeup recommendations, but with a discerning eye since so many posts are flooded with product sponsorships nowadays.

Ok, so my point really, my September buys which I am really satisfied with, even more than satisfied perhaps. So much so that I had to share them on my blog ūüôā

#1 Nyx Matt Lipstick in Tea Rose

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NYX Matte Lipsticks are highly pigmented, richly formulated and long-wearing. The formula glides on smoothly and stays put in a matte finish. From Pure Red to Nude, Matte Lipsticks are available in a variety of rich shades.

I love the shade I got – I don’t think I can pull off a deep ruby red on a daily basis, although I must admit, it does look really good on Asian skin… at times. I got mine in tea rose, it’s supposedly mauve-pink which should be a pale-lavender lilac. I didn’t want anything too obvious or blinding when people look at me, so this colour is just nice. It’s rich enough for my skin tone, and gives the added tint I want for my face. I’m still trying to get used to using lipstick, I’ve always used lip gloss and never had to worry about “staining my straw”.

An aside, but growing up, I always freaked out at my mom’s red lipstick stain on straws. She would then proceed to use the same straw with the stain on. I always cringed at the sight of that, I always felt it was as if one was eating chunks of lipstick.

Okay, I digress but the best part of it all? This lipstick is damn cheap. It’s selling for just $9-$12 at Sephora. The price varies according to whether it’s matt or glossy.

I’ve also started to become more aware of where the products I use are made in – this one is made in Taiwan.

#2 Nyx Powder Blush in Desert Rose

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Our pressed powder blush delivers sheer, silky color that glides on, blends beautifully and creates a natural glow. The formula is richly-pigmented and lasts for hours.

I haven’t started using this yet – I hope to test it out over the weekend when I get more time. It’s too risky for me to experiment with this just before I head to work and then end up looking like a clown. The lady at Sephora said that it’s really important to blend this well because the colours are pretty rich. But she did a pretty nice job when she tried this on me at Sephora. I’m such a sucker for such things. Once again, the price? $12 or so, I can’t remember. *making another trip to Sephora to buy more Nyx products*

#3 Tony Moly Latte Art Milk Tea Morning Pack

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Moisturizing and silky makeup preparation pack. Multifunction ‚Äď Makeup starter, Moisture Cream, Primer. Soft usage / Constant hydration Whitening + Wrinkle care (Includes ‚ÄėMilk Creamy Essence‚Äô)

Saving the best for last, this is a wonderful makeup base, I wonder why it took me so long to find this product. It costs around $25-$28, but for the amount you’re getting which is slightly bigger than a tube of toothpaste, I reckon it’s pretty worth it. You don’t have to squeeze a huge amount, I barely even squeeze a coin-sized amount daily. The cream feels so light on the skin, and you don’t get a strong scent from the “milk tea”. It’s one of the best facial/makeup products I’ve ever used!

Okay, I’ve sacrificed like an hour of sleep for this! It’s going to be another day of rehearsals and work tomorrow, onward!

OPEN OUR EYES

Thought I’ll do a quick post before I head to bed. I chanced upon this video by Mandy Tay which was initially posted on Yahoo! Singapore’s webpage, which you can read about here. The background to this story is equally as fascinating, if not more, than the video.

The video reminds me to constantly push ourselves forward out of our comfort zone, and to remove our narrow-mindedness and open our eyes to the world. It reminds us to…. just live! Life is more than just getting annoyed at the person who blocked your way when you’re in a rush, or squeezing with millions of others on a packed train in the morning. Life is beautiful, and I say that with every bit of my heart.

Do what you love, and do it well. Love the ones around you, and as always, have a good heart.

And if you loved the music in the video as much as I did, it’s Paperman by Christophe Beck.

These next two weeks are going to be crazy but extremely fulfilling. Perhaps I’m crazy like that. It’s work during the day then rehearsals almost every night for our upcoming production Trojan Women¬†by the Singapore Repertory Theatre. But acting is something I really love doing, YOLO!

Performance dates: Friday 20th September (8pm) and Saturday 21st September (4pm, 8pm)

Do support local theatre!

TROJAN

ILO ILO

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*SPOILERS AHEAD –¬†Skip this if you haven’t watched Ilo Ilo, and you intend to*

So if you’re Singaporean/living in Singapore, you would have probably heard of the name Anthony Chen¬†or Ilo Ilo¬†(http://www.iloilomovie.com/)¬†by now. If you haven’t, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? Anthony, who directed the film, won the Camera d’Or award for his work. It was also the first Singaporean feature film to win an award at the Cannes Film Festival. #sgpride.

I remember reporting for the morning shift months back, and saw a barrage of emails regarding Anthony’s win, and because of the line of my work, I was tasked to conduct a short phone interview with Anthony hours after he clinched the prize, who by the way, is really friendly. It was a feel-good moment, knowing that Singapore does have talent and that it has received international recognition.

I watched the trailer when it was first out, and I immediately teared up, in the office in fact, because I personally could relate to the film. My relationship with my maid, but I call her Auntie or Tiatia, is beyond that of a child-caretaker role. I think Anthony said it best, when he said in an interview that¬†he “belongs to a generation of Singaporeans who were reared with the help of Filipino hands”. Often times, I think people forget that they are human after all – they have a family back home and at the end of the day, they do have feelings. I’ve seen families create a healthy relationship with their helpers, and in return, received the same gratitude back. If I may quote this verse from the bible,¬†Do to others as you would have them do to you (Luke 6:31)

Set in Singapore, ILO ILO chronicles the relationship between a family of three and their newly arrived Filipino maid, Teresa, who has come like many other Filipino women in search of a better life.

The entire family needs to adapt to the presence of this stranger, which further threatens their already strained relationship. Still, Teresa and Jiale, the young and troublesome boy she cares for, soon form a bond. Their unique connection continues to develop and soon she becomes an unspoken part of the family.

But this is 1997 and the Asian Financial Crisis is starting to be felt in all the region…

Because I have friends who love me, Peace brought me as her plus one (job perks whee!) to one of the screenings yesterday. I had high expectations, I must admit, but I think overall, it was a good film. The theatre was packed, which was an extremely promising sight. I think moviegoers in Singapore are starting to get a taste of something that is produced by our locals, other than our standard slapstick comedies. It’s something that I have also written about here. Onward!

I am always fascinated by every directors’ thought process and motivation – why do they film things a certain way, what message are they trying to tell the audiences? As I watched the film, there were certain scenes that left an impression on me – in the cinema, it was like prac crit all over again, and my mind was just going bam, what is this! What does this mean? I think the director is trying to say this¬†– I blame it my Literature degree and the Asian Film History class I took which was conducted by Tan Bee Thiam at NTU. People are going to be like¬†gurrrrrrl, you think too much.¬†I say,¬†meh!¬†

hair

  1. Hair – there were many points in the film that focused on the idea of one’s hair. To name a few, the most in-your-face-hair-moment was when Jia Le (the young boy, played by Koh Jia Le) snipped off Terry’s (his helper, played by Angeli Bayani) hair in the taxi moments before her return back home to the Philippines. Let’s not forget that Terry also moonlighted as a hairdresser to earn some extra cash. And about three quarters into the film, we suddenly see a new Jia Le, with a shaven head. We also see that in Terry, but much earlier on in the film. Noticed how her hair was all combed to the back, tied up fairly messily, but later on, her hairstyle changed – it was tied up much neater than before, with her hair half-up/half-down. Lastly, remember how Jia Le used to say,¬†your hair very Ťá≠ leh¬†which also translates to¬†your hair is very smelly.¬†I cracked up at that point, the actor delivered it with such earnestness that it tugged at my heartstrings.

    My take: ¬†Hair, in the film, represents your past/present and the snipping/removal of hair signifies the process of change and renewal. This was evident when Jia Le sported a new hairstyle – he was previously a playful student who caused his mom (played by Yeo Yann Yann) to worry. He had also disliked his Auntie Terry when she first arrived at his home, but with a newly shaven head, it signified a change in him – he had taken a liking to Auntie Terry and their relationship had improved tremendously. As for Terry, working as a hairdresser to earn some cash was her means of changing her life – to create a better life for her family back in the Philippines. The change in her hairstyle in the film also represented the change of her status – she wasn’t just a helper anymore, but in addition to being a hairdresser, she was a helper that was appreciated, and who started to take on motherly roles in caring for Jia Le. Lastly, I think the shot where Jia Le held on tightly to bits of Terry’s hair after snipping it off shows that other than it being a momento, he wants to hold on to a bit of the past – that is, his time spent with Auntie Terry. I think this was my favourite moment in Ilo Ilo.

  2. chickemChickens¬†– this was hard to miss. The imagery was very direct – Jia Le’s father bought him chicks to keep as pets after watching a shot on tv of chicks being hatched. The 3 chicks then grew into plump chickens. One of the chickens was killed (and this gruesome scene was shown as well) to offer to Jia Le’s grandfather who had passed on. Another chicken was cooked and braised for their meals. Then of course, ¬†the family ate KFC on Jia Le’s birthday. A little more subtle was Jia Le’s obsession with playing with his Tamagotchi (a virtual pet simulation game where you raise the animal from an egg to a fully grown chick).

    My take: What I understood from the use of chickens is probably not right, but I think the portion where the chickens were kept behind a coop spoke volumes. I felt that the chickens represented us, the people and our society – and taking into consideration the financial environment of that time, and how Jia Le’s father (played by Chen Tian Wen) and mother struggled financially – it sort of signified how we have grown to be part of the rat race in Singapore in our endless pursuit of money and a better life. We hatch from eggs, to chicks, and then to fully-grown chickens. The ones who don’t do well, and can’t emerge – they drop out (they get killed, and eaten like the shot of KFC). The Tamagotchi could also mean our wired-up Singapore and our obsession with technology – but I could be pushing it a little too far here. Hehe.

  3. Toilet –¬†we see this when Terry bathes Jia Le, when Jia Le’s father washes his clothes in the middle of the night, when Jia Le’s mom uses the toilet in her very pregnant state.

    My take: It represents our vulnerability. To begin with, bathing or using the toilet is a very personal and intimate moment. It is those few moments when we are alone and don’t have to put on a mask for anyone. So similarly, Jia Le allows Terry to bathe him, and as a young boy almost hitting puberty, by allowing Terry to do so, is to let her in on his most vulnerable moments, and that at the end of the day, as naughty or stubborn as he may be, he still yearns for love and for someone to care for him. The same goes for Jia Le’s father – he washes his clothes in the toilet, refusing to let his wife or anyone find out about him losing his job. Losing his job was a dampener to his pride, more so, given that he is the head of the family.

There are many other recurring themes in the film such as Jia Le’s obsession with numbers and 4D (lottery), perhaps it tells of Singapore’s obsession with 4D as well? Haha, maybe, maybe not. Ilo Ilo had so much Singaporean flavour in it – it was telling of our quirks and the way we operate – but it also boasts of universal themes that would be relevant to Singaporeans as well as the rest of the world. I think, it is also a homage to the foreign help we have received in our country – be it domestic helpers, construction workers etc.

Go watch!

Photo credit: Ilo Ilo